Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Gil's All Fright Diner

Added By: Administrator
Last Updated:

Gil's All Fright Diner

Purchase this book through Purchase this book from Purchase this book from
Author: A. Lee Martinez
Publisher: Tor, 2005

This book does not appear to be part of a series. If this is incorrect, and you know the name of the series to which it belongs, please let us know.

Submit Series Details

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre Tags:
Avg Member Rating:
(14 reads / 6 ratings)


Bloodier than Fried Green Tomatoes!

Funnier than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

Welcome to Gil's All Night Diner, where zombie attacks are a regular occurrence and you never know what might be lurking in the freezer. . . .

Duke and Earl are just passing through Rockwood county in their pick-up truck when they stop at the diner for a quick bite to eat. They aren't planning to stick around--until Loretta, the eatery's owner, offers them one hundred dollars to take care of her zombie problem. Given that Duke is a werewolf and Earl's a vampire, this looks right up their alley.

But the shambling dead are just the tip of a particularly spiky iceberg. Seems someone's out to drive Loretta from the diner, and more than willing to raise a little hell on earth if that's what it takes. Before Duke and Earl get to the bottom of the diner's troubles, they'll run into such otherworldly complications as undead cattle, an amorous ghost, a jailbait sorceress, and the terrifying occult power of pig Latin.

And maybe--just maybe--the End of the World, too.

Gory, sexy, and flat-out hilarious, Gil's All Fright Diner will tickle your funny bone--before ripping it out of its socket!



In the middle of nowhere, along a quiet stretch of road, the diner dreamt of the hungry dead. And of two men.

Well, not men exactly.

Earl bounced in his seat as the pickup quaked. His beer slipped and settled in his lap. He grunted curses as he snatched up the can too late to prevent a yellow puddle around his groin.

Hell, Duke, do you gotta hit every goddamn hole in the road?

Duke shrugged and offered a mumbled apology.

Yeah, well just try and watch it.

Earl reached into the pool of empty beers. Damn it, Duke! If that's the last beer, I'm going to have to kick your ass. Like Arthur with Excalibur, he withdrew a full beer. You got lucky. He popped it open and gulped down half its contents.

Duke grunted.

How we doing on gas? asked Earl.

We got enough.

How much we got?


Damn it, Duke, can't you just answer a goddamn question?

Duke took a moment to lean out his window and spit. We got enough, Earl.

The rusty gray truck bounced down the dusty road, more of a dirt trail really. Worn shocks were helpless against the rocky, hole-ridden roadway, and with each jolt, the engine rattled as if it might rip free. The tape player didn't work; something the passengers had learned at the cost of a Hank Williams, Jr. cassette. Spools of black tape hung from the radio's jaws, the inevitable end of an unsuccessful rescue attempt. The passengers rode in silence with only the clatter of seventy-six empty beer cans to fill the quiet. Seventy-six was the exact number of tallboys that could fit in the front seat before space limitations demanded a transfer to the bed.

The vehicle was an unlikely means of transport for the Earl of Vampires and the Duke of Werewolves. But for a vampire who happened to be named Earl and a werewolf who liked to be called Duke, it was perfectly acceptable. Truth be told, they had called on much worse when the occasion demanded it.

We got like thirty more miles to the nearest station, y'know? Earl glanced at the fuel gauge. It trembled on empty. Shit. Should'a filled up at the last place. I told'ja, didn't I?

He contented himself by tossing dirty looks Duke's way the next few minutes.

The vampire was a stringy fellow, pale—as one would expect—with an overbite, a large nose, and a ridiculously unsuccessful comb-over. The werewolf was large and hairy, even in his current man form. His monstrous gut barely managed to squeeze behind the steering wheel. A green baseball cap tried, and failed miserably, to contain the thick mane of dark brown hair atop his head. He had never been able to grow a beard, but a permanent five o'clock shadow covered his face.

Earl wore threadbare overalls that were at least as old as he was. (Which, for the record, was much older than he looked but still not all that old for a vampire.) Duke wore denim jeans, a leather jacket, and a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan NO FAT CHICKS.

"Next chance we get, Duke, we should get some new tires, too."

"Tires are fine."

"This one's ready to blow."

"No it ain't."

"What the fuck to do you know about tires, dipshit?"

"I know it ain't going to blow."

"Fine, but when it does, you're changing it."


Duke didn't bother to point out the truck was currently riding on its spare.

Rattling quiet fell on the cab once again. It lasted through the next half-hour. The pickup's working headlight cut through the darkness of a cloudy night and sliver of a moon. The occasional forlorn mailbox or animal carcass marked the otherwise unremarkable miles. Finally, a beacon of shimmering neon dared pierce the dark. It was a ten-foot sign beside a bunker of concrete. The sign read GIL'S ALL NIGHT DINER.

Duke pulled off. "I'm hungry," he explained, before Earl could set about busting his balls.

Earl set about to busting anyway. "You could'a ate earlier. I told'ja to get something earlier."

"Wasn't hungry then." Duke tugged the brim of his cap so that it nearly covered his eyes as he pulled his girth free of the driver's seat. The pickup's suspension groaned as the truck rose three inches.

"You could'a got a sandwich. That's your problem. You never think ahead. You're always living in the now. You've got one of them there reactive minds."

Duke cursed the day Earl had gotten his hands on a dog-eared copy of Dianetics.

The werewolf stopped to sniff the air.

"Now what?" Earl asked.

"Nuthin'." He tilted his head. "Thought I smelt sumthin' for a minute there."

"What? What d'ja think you smell?"


"Jeezus, Duke, there ain't nuthin' for a hundred miles. Where the hell would zombies come from?"

"Over there."

Duke jerked his thumb over his shoulder as he entered the diner. As if on cue, the dust raised by the pickup's arrival settled, revealing a small cemetery.


Duke went inside.

A big, black raven perched atop the diner's neon sign. The bird tilted its head to stare at Earl with one cruel ebony eye.

What are you looking at?

He flung a pebble at the raven but missed. The bird didn't seem to care. It stayed on its perch without ruffling a feather. Sighing, Earl headed inside.

Duke's worn hiking boots squeaked with each step across the diner's worn linoleum floor. Earl's flip flops mutely thumped. The diner was abnormally large given its desolate location. There were enough booths, tables, and barstools to service a small army. But the room was empty. The overhead lights hummed obnoxiously. Two cheap desert landscapes hung by the bathrooms. A potted fern hung from a support column. A cracked ceramic pot sat in a corner. These efforts failed miserably to add character, and the place was so devoid as to be almost vulgar in its blandness.

The most eye-catching detail was a brownish red stain, about a foot long at its widest, at the base of the column. A normal person wouldn't give it much thought, mistaking it for rust or mildew. But both Earl and Duke had sensitive noses. It smelled of blood. The stain looked old, but the odor, though subtle, was fresh.

A voice came from the back. "Be right with you."

They found seats at the counter. The odor of grease made Duke's stomach rumble.

Earl continued with his psychoanalysis. "Now me, I've got goals, and my mind acts upon those goals in an enlightened manner. I've achieved myself a state of clear. Whereas you just act on whatever impulse enters that fool head of yours."

"Least I got myself a shadow."

The vampire glanced at the floor. His shadow was indeed gone again. It did that quite often. Sometimes disappearing for hours or even days. Earl always hated that. He just knew that wherever it went, it was having a better time than him. And when it was in its rightful place, it had a tendency to move around against his will, taunting him and making a general nuisance of itself. Of all the problems of the undead (too many to list, really) the shadow was perhaps the most trivial yet most annoying.

Knowing how much it bothered Earl, Duke cracked a hint of a smile.

Earl scoured his mind for a clever comeback. He finally settled for a snarled, "Fuck you."

The kitchen doors swung open, and a tall, plump woman lurched into the front. She wore a T-shirt and jean cutoffs that hugged her jiggling behind, but only barely. Cellulite rolled down her legs in flapping waves with each step. A soiled apron stretched across her immense breasts. Her hair, a frazzled bleached-blonde mess, slung to the left of her face and just past her shoulders. She smiled, revealing teeth the size and color of corn kernels. A stained tag pinned to her collar had the name Loretta in bright green letters next to a beaming happy face.

"Morning, boys. What can I get you?"

Duke fished deep into his pockets and dropped a handful of crumpled bills and eighty-three cents in change. "What'll that get me?"

The waitress pushed the money around with the eraser end of her pencil. "Grilled cheese sandwich, some fries, cuppa chili, and a Coke."

He nodded.

"Nuthin' for me, thanks, Earl piped in. I already ate."

Loretta disappeared into the back. Duke, who had seen a man's fresh innards spilt upon the ground on more than one occasion, averted his eyes from the disagreeable trembling flesh of her exit. Earl was too busy looking for his shadow to notice.

The waitress's head bobbed about in the rectangular window that allowed a glimpse into the kitchen. "Where you boys headed?"

"Nowhere in particular," Earl replied. "Just driving."

"Nuthin' wrong with that. Hell, sometimes I wish I could pull up stakes and just go wherever the Good Lord sees fit to take me." She slapped something on the grill, and sizzling filled the air. "You boys didn't see nuthin' strange on your way in, did'ja?"

Earl snorted. "Strange like what?"

"Nuthin'. You'd know it if you saw it. So where you from?"


She grinned. "Sorry, I just get to chatting on these slow nights. Don't mean to pry into your business."

Ten minutes later, she set a plate before Duke. The cheese dripped a puddle of grease, and the fries were soggy and brown. The chili was steaming hot, though. He dipped his spoon into the thick brown concoction and took a bite.

"How is it?" Earl asked.

"Good. Little heavy on the garlic."

Duke leaned close and let his traveling companion get a strong whiff of his breath. Earl recoiled, tumbling off his stool and hitting the floor. His nostrils flared, and his face contorted into a scowl.

"You asshole."

Duke chuckled.

Copyright © 2005 by A. Lee Martinez


Gil's All Fright Diner

- Badseedgirl


No alternate cover images currently exist for this novel.